Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places and Work Areas

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This argumentative essay on smoking in public places explores the topic of smoking bans and the role of public health monitoring in controlling this social problem. Public health monitoring is a regular collection of data on components of health aimed to inform the public of the public health policy process. Components based on health are considered relevant if they cover issues of major public health importance e.g trends, geographic spread, costs and health impact. Health policies are made after close monitoring as a way to try and prevent health issues. One of the policy that have been put in place after monitoring is prohibiting tobacco use at the workplace.

Why Smoking is Banned in Public Places and Workplace

Legislation brought in on 1 July 2007 prevents smoking in public places and in the work area. The ban includes smoking on vehicles that operate for public or work purposes such as public transport and train stations. This was to ensure that all people can access restaurants and public places without inhaling second-hand smoke. Smoking is a large issue that causes many issues to public health. Smoking can cause illnesses such as many different cancers, COPD, heart disease, stroke, asthma and preemie babies. The smoking ban was widely influenced by research that showed that indoor smoking causes serious health issues for children due to the second-hand smoke in which they can develop issues such as severe asthma, ear infections and SIDS. In 201718 the government is estimated to spend around 3.6 billion on smoking-related illnesses a year through the NHS with an additional 1 billion collecting cigarette buts and extinguishing smoking-related house fires. These numbers however have since decreased with the government spending 2.6 billion for the NHS to deal with smoking-related issues and the government spending 760 million to local authorities for social care needs due to smoking. Toby Green, the tobacco policy lead at the RSPH, said that the policy was 'one of the biggest public health interventions in 15 years'. Studies showed that second-hand smoke increased an adult non-smoker’s risk of lung cancer and heart disease by ¼ and of a stroke by 30% which were quite high for someone that had health lifestyle choices. We don't know what exactly causes cancers however research has shown that smoking causes 90% of lung cancer cases.

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What Effect Did the Ban for Smoking in Public Places Have?

ASH (Action on Smoking Health) is a pressure group that has aimed to educate the public on the risks associated with tobacco smoking and campaign for greater restrictions on cigarette and tobacco sales. The director of policy at ASH said that after the legislation was brought in 2007 more people were trying to stop smoking and due to the limitations of where they could and couldn't smoke helped them to succeed in quitting. Due to fewer people smoking and an improvement in the quality of air, a year after the ban the BMJ (British Medical Journal) estimated 1,200 less heart attack hospital admissions. Improvements like this have a positive impact on public health because fewer people are being affected by this factor which shows that the policy put in place is beneficial and helpful to public health.

Other positive effects that were caused by the ban on smoking in public places is the amount of people that were smoking and air pollution caused by smoking. Before the ban in 2006, at least 22% of adults were smokers. When compared to the per cent of adults who smoked in 2015 the percentage had dropped by 4%. Although a small decline, public health aims to try and reduce this number over the years and keep thinking of ways to reduce this number. The US Environmental Protection Agency set an 'unhealthy' threshold for outdoor air. In 2006 and other previous years before the 2007 public smoking ban, air pollution from cigarette smoke was much higher than this threshold however after the ban the air pollution in the UK was reduced by as much as 93%.

Since the ban preventing people from smoking in public places such as pubs many adults have now moved to smoking in outside smoking areas which are away from children and areas that have been designated for smoking so people can be away from those places if they want to. Another positive yet short impact was that in the three months after the ban there was a 6.3 per cent drop in the volume of cigarettes sold in England. There are also other methods put in place to try and prevent smoking such as policies to prevent tobacco advertisement. The Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Act 2002 prohibits press, poster and most advertising on the internet for tobacco products to the public. There are also more informative packages on cigarette boxes informing people of the risks of smoking.

I think that banning smoking in public places it's a great idea. in this essay we saw that this ban has had a positive effect on public health because smoking levels have continued to drop. In 2018 the population of smokers in the UK was 14.7% which significantly dropped to 14.7% in 2019. I believe that smoking will slowly decrease more and more especially because we are more aware of the effects smoking can have, with children learning about it in schools and PHE trying to tighten rules on advertising and what counts as a public place.

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Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places and Work Areas. (2023, May 16). WritingBros. Retrieved July 21, 2024, from
“Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places and Work Areas.” WritingBros, 16 May 2023,
Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places and Work Areas. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 21 Jul. 2024].
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